June 20 (UPI) — A Seattle law banning plastic straws and eating utensils is set to take effect on July 1.
The law is designed to reduce the amount of plastic waste that has been contaminating and polluting the city’s waterways. Fines won’t be issued against establishments that don’t adhere to the ban, but city officials will encourage them to do so.
Seattle will become the first major U.S. city to enact such a ban.
“Plastic pollution is surpassing crisis levels in the world’s oceans, and I’m proud Seattle is leading the way and setting an example for the nation by enacting a plastic straw ban,” said Mami Hara, general manager of Seattle Public Utilities, according to KOMO-TV.
Hara added: “Our goal for the next year is to help all restaurants, food trucks, and food service operations shift away from plastic to compostable food serviceware.”
While Seattle is the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils, other cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, are considering following their lead.
“So, what we’re starting to see, based on the work Seattle has done, is it’s really empowering communities all over the world,” Lonely Whale Executive Director Dune Ives said, according to KIRO-TV. “To say you know we actually don’t need plastic straws, and it’s not difficult to remove it.”